Psalm 16-17 Acts 20:1-16
“A young man named Eutychus was sitting in the window. As Paul continued talking, Eutychus was falling into a deep sleep. Finally, he went sound asleep and fell to the ground from the third floor. When they picked him up, he was dead.” (Acts 20:9 NCV)
Paul realized that he might not have a chance to make it back to Troas and he wanted to make sure that the church was prepared for the days ahead. There was an urgency about this last night with them that compelled him to speak for a long time. One of the followers in Troas was sitting in the window, perhaps he wanted a cool breeze to help keep him awake after a long day of work. Then, as hard as he may have tried to pay attention, it happened: he fell asleep. When he fell asleep, he fell to the ground and died. Paul went out to check on him and hugged him. Then he made the announcement that no one expected as he told them that Eutychus was alive again. Then Paul continued speaking until the early morning before he left.
This story could have been tragic, except for God’s intervention. Now, we joke about the event. The old preacher joke that will never die is of the preacher that’s bothered by the snoring of a man in the middle of the church. He looks at the man’s wife and asks her to wake him up. The wife responds, “You put him to sleep – you wake him up.” As a Baptist we believe that when the Bible talks about saints it talks about all believers, so we don’t have a special class of followers of Christ called “saints.” If we did, however, Eutychus would be high on the list of favored saints for all those who fall asleep in church. I don’t get a great spiritual lesson in this passage. What I do see is a reminder that people come to church from different circumstances and with different needs. Perhaps a long day of work, a warm night, and the lamps in the room put Eutychus to sleep. Perhaps the person next to you in church who falls asleep during the sermon had a sleepless night because of worry, or children. Perhaps that person who gets up and walks out during the middle of the sermon was dealing with personal issues that the sermon touched on, and they needed some space. We never know how God’s going to work on people in church. What we do know is that our call, when someone does something that may seem to be unacceptable in church, is to love and comfort the other person. Let’s spend more time showing grace to others and less time judging. We may be amazed how God works if we do that.
Lord, it’s so easy to look at people like Eutychus and judge people in church. We don’t know all the details of their situations, though. Help us to recognize that others may have issues that we could never deal with and be joyful that they want to be in the presence of Your saints.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved